Kruse now leads SEC with 33 RBI and 7 home runs
FORT MADISON – Neeley Rehm pitched a one-hit, one-walk gem for four innings to highlight a Bloodhound sweep of Mt. Pleasant in a Southeast Conference doubleheader Friday night.
The Hounds won the opener 12-0 and won Game 2 15-6. The wins keep the Hounds atop the conference with an 11-1 record, 12-10 overall.
Rehm has the 4th best ERA in the conference at 2.92 and the junior showed all that sitting the Panthers down in order in the first three innings of the opener. Fort Madison scored one run each in the first and second and then exploded for nine in the third.
Logan Johnson and Erika Kruse both drew walks and stole a base to open the bottom of the third. Johnson would score on a wild pitch and then Lexi Whaley singled to third scoring Kruse. Elle Ruble got plunked and Rehm and Lauryn Helmick each walked scoring Whaley and loading the bases with a 5-0 lead.
Sophomore Elizabeth Tanner then cleared all the bases with a triple on a line drive to right field for an 8-0 lead. McKenna Cashman followed with an RBI single to put FM up 9-0 with no outs. Logan Johnson got hit by a pitch as the Hounds restarted the order. Kruse would double scoring Cashman and moving Johnson to third. Whaley would get hit by a pitch to load the bases for the second time in the inning.
Ruble drew a walk scoring Johnson and then Mt. Pleasant would get the next two hitters, with Kruse being called out on offensive interference for the third out and Fort Madison up 11-0 headed to the fourth.
The Panther’s Emma Starr started with a single, but that would be all the Mt. Pleasant offense would get in game one as Neeley was perfect from then on. The Hounds would get the 12-run rule when Helmick scored on a fielding error on a pop fly with one out to end the game.
Tanner was the hot bat for Fort Madison going 3-for-3 with 4 RBI and a run scored. Emily Steffensmeier, Johnson, Kruse, Whaley, Rehm and Cashman all had hits for Fort Madison. Johnson scored three runs in the win.
In the nightcap, the Hounds started off with 11 runs in the first innings and everyone thought the game would be a quick one, but the Panthers battled back with four runs in the second inning and the Mt. Pleasant defense held Fort Madison scoreless from that point until the sixth inning.
Steffensmeier singled to start the rally in the first. Johnson followed with a walk while Steffensmeier was stealing everything in sight. She would eventually come around to score on a wild pitch. Kruse would single to score Taylor Johnson courtesy running for Logan Johnson. After a ground out, Ruble got plunked, Rehm walked, and then Helmick tripled clearing the bases for a 5-1 Fort Madison lead with just one out.
Cashman would reach on an error allowing Helmick to come home. Olivia Buckner walked to put two on. Steffensmeier popped out to third for the second out and then Logan Johnson singled through second to load the bases again.
Kruse would hit a line drive to right field scoring Buckner and Cashman for her conference leading 33rd RBI of the year. Lexi Whaley then lined one just over the fence in left for her second dinger of the year giving the Hounds a comfortable 11-1 lead before a ground out ended the inning.
Jersey Beachy hit a 3-run double to center to cut the lead to 11-5 in the top of the second, and the Panthers would add a run on a wild pitch in the third, but that would be the end of the scoring until Fort Madison added three in the bottom of the sixth.
Rehm added a one-out RBI single and then a couple Panther errors allowed two more runs for a 14-6 lead. Steffensmeier would round out the scoring with an RBI single. Tanner was thrown out trying to score on the play from second. Kruse retired the side in the top of the seventh to get the win.
The junior went all seven innings giving up one earned run on six hits and striking out three. She also had a three-hit game with 3 RBI and a run scored. Helmick had 3 RBI and couple runs scored. Rehm, Whaley, Logan Johnson and Steffensmeier each had two hits in the win.
Fort Madison has two more doubleheaders this week with Fairfield (7-3, 14-6) coming to Fort Madison for an important set Monday night, followed by a trip to Washington (5-7, 8-15) on Thursday. The Hounds round out the week with a trek to Cedar Rapids Xavier on Saturday.